Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)

Overview

The UBC PhD in Philosophy provides students with intense philosophical training, and can help them transition to careers in philosophical research and teaching.

Those admitted will work with award-winning faculty members who engage in research in the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, aesthetics, ethics, social/political philosophy, logic, Asian philosophy and the history of philosophy, just to name a few.

Students also get the opportunity to gain experience of teaching philosophy, through work as teaching assistants in a broad range of courses.

What makes the program unique?

Students in the UBC Department of Philosophy's doctoral programme work closely with the department's faculty, and so benefit fully from our internationally recognized expertise in a unique range of philosophical fields. The department has a supportive, collegial, and philosophically inspiring culture. Students have a range of opportunities to participate fully in its intellectual life. They are also encouraged to participate in the broader community of philosophers, with several sources of funding being available that enable students to present their research at international academic conferences.

Program Structure

During their first two years in the program all students take courses that provide them with expertise in a broad range of philosophical topics, including value theory, the history of philosophy, and the core areas of metaphysics and epistemology. They also receive training in whatever formal research methods might be necessary for their work. Students who successfully complete the department's comprehensive examination then go on to write a dissertation, working under the supervision of a committee of faculty members, in which their own philosophical ideas are presented and explained.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 12 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 12 January 2022

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 18 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research/academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $33,306.
  • 10 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 10 students was $16,927.
  • 5 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 5 students was $4,132.
  • 18 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 18 students was $17,754.
  • 3 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 3 students was $30,000.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

20 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 18 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (3)
University of Ottawa (2)
Auburn University
Western University (Ontario)
Boston University
Queen's University Belfast
Douglas College
Florida State University
Fraser International College
Tokyo University of Agriculture
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
SAP (2)
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Specialist, Inbound Customer Engagement
Specialist, Inbound Customer Support
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Graduates from UBC's Philosophy PhD program have taken academic posts in philosophy, and in related disciplines, at research universities around the world. They also have a broad range of research skills, which make them attractive to employers in a range of fields, especially in those relating to media and the arts.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20202019201820172016
Applications1111117510889
Offers9131196
New registrations57435
Total enrolment3033292625

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 81.82% based on 11 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 5 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 5.83 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 6.70 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 April 2021]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 October 2020].

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2015 Dr. DesRoches explored the concept of natural capital. Economists who embrace natural capital no longer view nature as storehouse of inert materials, but rather as a collection of active production processes that are furnished by nature for free. Nature is depicted as a garden containing objects purposefully arranged by humans to serve their own needs.
2014 Dr. Rosales worked in the history and philosophy of science, at both the Department of Philosophy and the Biodiversity Research Centre at UBC . He showed that scientists need narratives to explore, represent, and explain the world. Our understanding of science is incomplete without taking into account its narrative component.
2014 Dr. Davis examined the role of evolutionary theory in explaining religious belief and behaviour. His research shows that both genetic selection and cultural selection play essential roles in religious evolution, and this research contributes to our understanding not only of religious psychology, but also of human evolution in general.
2014 Dr. Inkpen examined the ways in which concepts of the artificial and the natural have structured the thought and practice of biologists since the 19th century. He articulated why many biologists have felt uneasy about artificial, experimental intervention. Despite contrary claims, he argues that more experimentation is not equivalent to better science.
2014 Dr. Tian studied collective responsibility and how political decisions affect our understanding of it. She argues that the deliberative model of democratic practice is more justifiable than the aggregative one. Deliberative democracy helps us exercise public reason, recognize the shared nature of collective decisions, and generate new collective actions.
2013 Dr. Brooks studied ways that attention and emotion can be adversely affected by circumstances, causing people to make moral mistakes. He found that there is no set of character traits that can protect against all of these effects in all circumstances, making it impossible for any individual to become morally perfect.
2013 Dr. Deery argues that neither the belief in being free to do otherwise nor the experience of having such freedom is inconsistent with there being just one physically possible future. Drawing on recent work in psychology, Dr. Deery develops a view that preserves our self-image as agents who can navigate among alternative pathways into the future.
2013 Dr. Isenberg's work explains how we can have real beliefs and emotions about fictional characters and situations when we know that they do not exist and did not occur. She developed a framework for characterizing these responses that will provide guidance for future work in the semantics of fiction and the philosophy of film.
2013 Dr. Johnston's work lies at the intersection between morality and beauty. He developed a theory of judgment that is sensitive to both, thus unifying, in part, ethics and aesthetics. This theory relies on the agent's skill of carefully getting to know the item up for judgment. His theory will have impact in ethics, aesthetics, and art education
2012 Dr. Celestino defended an original semantic and metaphysical account of mental states such as beliefs and desires, their reports and fiction. She provided a new understanding of how we talk about things with words. Her research thus contributes to the understanding of how language works.

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

Philosophy offers courses in most major areas of the discipline, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, political and social philosophy, philosophy of art, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mathematics, and history of philosophy.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-T0

Classification

 
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
08 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
08 January 2022
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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